PAPUA New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) formalised their maritime boundaries in a ceremony held on the sidelines of the Pacific Island Forum in Port Moresby in September.

The ceremony was the formal conclusion to an agreement originally drafted in 1991 between the two nations following joint field surveys but which neither nation had ratified internally.

Since then, advances in technology including satellite imagery and coastal data techniques have enabled both parties to draw a more accurate boundary, better defining their extended continental shelf and with that their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

Both PNG and FSM agreed to create two new additional treaty points to allow the EEZ of both nations to intersect better following the receipt of this updated information.

Neither country was disadvantaged by the redrafting of this zone, the PNG government said in an announcement.

FSM President Peter Christian thanked the Geoscience division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Australian Attorney General’s Department and the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency for their legal, technical and financial support.

Both leaders said the better delineation of the borders would improve the management and enforcement of fisheries laws in both nations – creating scope for a more formal bilateral relationship between the two nations.